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Bhutan celebrates World Toilet Day

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Staff Writer | November 20, 2018
Recognizing the importance of achieving 100 percent toilets for all households in the country, Bhutan observed World Toilet Day at Tsirang district of southern Bhutan on Monday.
Bhutan toilet
Asia   Eighty gewogs across Bhutan were recognized
The day was celebrated by Ministry of Health along with United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Foundation of Netherlands Volunteers (SNV), and local communities of around 11 districts.

Eighty gewogs (communities) across Bhutan were recognized as having improved sanitation coverage or open defecation free.

Having an improved sanitation will help reduce diseases, said Health Secretary of Bhutan Ugyen Dophu who graced the event.

The day was celebrated with the global theme "when nature calls, we need a toilet" this year. However, billions of people across the world don't have one toilet, stated the United Nations.

It said that human faeces, on a massive scale, are not being captured or treated, whereby contaminating the water and soil that sustain human life, "We are turning our environment into an open sewer. We must build toilets and sanitation systems that work in harmony with ecosystems."

In Bhutan, despite enormous efforts towards achieving improved sanitation coverage across the country, open defecation still remains a problem.

As per the population and housing census of Bhutan (PHCB) 2017, more than 3,000 households still do not have access to a toilet facility.

Achieving 100 percent sanitation is of high priority for Bhutan, as it has been nominated to graduate from the least developed countries (LDC) list.

As per public health, the improved sanitation facilities means having a flush toilet, ventilated improved pit, pit latrine with slab and composting toilet.

Although the census report showed that nearly 75 percent households in Bhutan has improved sanitation facilities, there are still a lot more to be done for all households to have access to flush toilets.

The survey enumerated around 163,001 households, and found that more than 36,000 households don not have access to flush toilets. It was also reported that many households still share toilets with other households, especially in rural communities.

The government's aim is to end open defecation, as it has direct impact on environment, said health officials.

Not having proper toilets along the national highways was found as another problem, which is also one of the complaints received from tourists in general.

Sanitation is a global development priority, due to which the United Nations General Assembly officially designated Nov. 19 as World Toilet Day in 2013.